(Up the River During) Qingming in Brief Attributed to Zhang Zeduan (fl. early 12th c.), Song dynasty The title of this painting on the subject of “Up the River During Qingming” derives in part from Commentary on the Book of Changes: “With ease it is easily understood, and with brevity it is free of labor.” In other words, something is easy to understand when its content is plain and straightforward. The artist here therefore probably intended for the viewer to grasp the full scope of prosperity in the capital by simplifying elements of the painting. Zhang Zeduan (style name Zhengdao), a native of Dongwu, was skilled at painting vehicles and boats, markets and bridges, and buildings of all types. His “Up the River During Qingming,” now in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing, was copied and imitated by many later artists. The version here traditionally attributed to Zhang includes such scenes starting from the right as a rustic countryside followed by a colorful bridal procession, the main arched bridge with a market, areas surrounding the city walls, and various bridges and waterfront activities. The method of painting the earth and trees differs markedly from those of the original by Zhang, and the brushwork here is somewhat weaker. The coloring is also more decorative and the rendering of space appears flatter, suggesting an imitation from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) instead.